Patient, child advocacy graduate programs now enrolling

July 17, 2013 | Events, Features, UToday
By Casey Cheap

The College of Criminal Justice and Human Service at The University of Toledo is taking applications for incoming graduate students interested in the Patient Advocacy Graduate Certificate or Child Advocacy Graduate Certificate programs.

Both programs consist of four courses over two academic semesters that are completed online. The application deadline is Thursday, Aug. 1, and classes will begin Monday, Aug. 19.

Patient advocates act as liaisons between patients and health-care providers to help patients navigate an increasingly complex health-care system. Advocates educate patients on their treatment options and help them keep their medical information, such as medications and special diet, in order for doctors.

“Physicians are so limited in their time,” said Debra O’Connell, UT director of patient advocacy. “Advocates help empower patients to be proactive and make their own decisions.”

Those who enroll in the Patient Advocacy Program are often looking for a second career, O’Connell said. Advocates come from but are not limited to professions such as sociology, communications, law, pharmacy and education.

In the Child Advocacy Certificate Program, students receive specialized training in such issues as the family dynamic and specific social services available for children. Students learn how to utilize social services, help children with disabilities, and connect mental health services with people who have been neglected or abused, whether physically, mentally, sexually or other types.

“It is a great way to make yourself more marketable,” said Dr. Christie Jenkins, associate director of the Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center in Toledo and a part-time instructor in the UT Department of School Psychology, Legal Specialties and Counselor Education. “Child abuse is so prevalent in our era. There is a need to have specific training because one in four girls and one in six boys have been sexually abused by age 18.”

Those interested in applying for either program can contact O’Connell at 419.530.5421 or

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